Every time I turn around, it seems one more person has become a yoga convert, registered for yoga teacher training, or already started offering yoga classes….myself included. This is a truly beautiful thing! I believe it heralds a very exciting change happening around the world…a heartfelt desire to find balance again.
As you read this you might be thinking, “Um, there’s no way I can do what those yoga people do.” I would suggest that your concept of yoga needs some broadening. I believe that everyone needs a yoga practice, without exception and no matter what age, what body type, or belief system he or she might follow. These days, there truly is a yoga for everyone.
Yoga is about finding your balance in the world. It is about taking care of your body and your mind as your temple. It is about finding what is right and natural…for you. What makes yoga so special is how it expresses itself through each person who practices. For some, this might look like an asana (or pose) practice. For others, it may be a careful attention turned toward treating others with kindness. Another may dance and sing to express their yoga. It doesn’t really matter! What’s important is that all have something, anything, that helps them to feel connected to something bigger than themselves and that helps them to lead a happier, more peaceful life.
Yoga is not a religion. It is a way of living. It is a way to remember how to be natural in an increasingly unnatural world. In the broadest sense, yoga is anything that one does with mindfulness, flow and lightness. It’s why yoga goes so well with everything. It goes with art, creative writing, cooking, accounting and yes, even politics (there just aren’t as many practitioners in some fields as others, but let’s pray that changes!).
Sure, a person can do any of those things, even yoga, without yoga. He or she might even find success and benefit doing it. But without mindfulness, without flow, without lightness, it remains devoid of love and self-compassion. There is no connection to the whole…or at least no awareness of that connection. And there are sure to be consequences down the road like burnout, injury or disease.
Doing anything without yoga is living while sleepwalking. And that is the sickness of our times. Yoga is the cure. So when I see that yoga is exploding everywhere, I say, “Amen!” May more and more people wake up. May more and more people discover this profound and beautiful path that molds itself to each one uniquely. Find your yoga and rediscover the natural self.